The Night Everyone Forgot Errol Spence Existed

By Paul Magno on February 18, 2018
The Night Everyone Forgot Errol Spence Existed
There’s uneasiness in the air when it comes to Spence's future. (David Cabrera/Complex)

This doesn’t bode well for the likelihood of seeing Spence in a real, career-defining fight against one of the fellow welterweight elite any time soon…

Imagine a world without Errol Spence Jr. It’s easy if you try.

Saturday night, after Danny Garcia stopped Brandon Rios, three of the top four active welterweights in the world engaged in a round robin tournament of trash talk and calling each other out.

First, Shawn Porter stormed the ring and invaded Garcia’s Showtime post-fight interview in pursuit of next dibs. After some back-and-forth gibberish and posturing and the assurance that “Philly…don’t back down from nobody,” order was restored.

A few minutes later, though, Porter and Keith Thurman would get into a heated exchange behind the scenes (and captured by over when Thurman would be ready to honor his WBC-mandated return bout against Porter.

In the span of just about thirty minutes, Garcia called out Thurman, Porter called out Garcia, Porter called out Thurman, and Thurman agreed that, after a tune-up, he’d be ready for either Porter or Garcia.

But nobody said a word about Spence.

Garcia, Porter, and Thurman are all clients of Haymon Boxing, just like Spence. They have no conflicting network deals to hamper Spence talks and nothing standing in the way of making a run at the IBF champ. There’s also plenty of money to be had in a bout with the fan favorite rising star.

Yet, not a word.

If it weren’t for a fan accosting Thurman in the lobby of the Mandalay Bay that evening with a “Stop ducking Errol” taunt (captured on video by Dontae’s Boxing Nation), Spence’s name would not have been brought up the entire evening.

This doesn’t bode well for the likelihood of seeing Spence in a real, career-defining fight against one of the fellow welterweight elite any time soon. Given Thurman’s slow return from injury and his apparent preference to entertain WBC-mandated retread bouts with Thurman and Garcia before Spence, things don’t look good. Worse yet, Porter and Garcia seem more than fine with fighting one another and/or waiting on Thurman.

There’s also the matter of Spence’s IBF belt keeping him tied to the occasional pointless mandatory (like this June’s reported bout with no-hope Carlos Ocampo) while allowing for the other top welters to keep their distance as “WBC” fighters.

If Showtime would be as aggressive in pushing Spence as HBO was in pushing Gennady Golovkin, maybe they, too, could shame Spence into a big payday or two. But, so far, the premium cable network has been nowhere near as shameless in promoting Spence as their premium rival was in championing the cause of “Triple G.”

So, that leaves a distressing bit of uneasiness in the air when it comes to Errol Spence and his future. Will Haymon or Showtime brass have to step in and force a legacy fight for the only welterweight in their stable with true legend-level potential?

If left on their own, it’s clear that Thurman, Porter, and Garcia would be more than happy to fight one another for all eternity. There’s enough there for all of them to make some serious bank for a few years without ever addressing the challenge of Spence.

And, really, none of the potential combos coming from those three are BAD. They’re good fights. They’re just not taking into account the one guy who could actually become the big American star the US fight scene needs.

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  1. Bruce Kielty 10:50pm, 02/19/2018

    Alfonso, I would agree that Danny Garcia tends to be underrated, but very few would share your opinion that he punches harder than Spence at welterweight.  Danny does have superb balance and timing, but his bout with Rios was much too competitive.  Rios’ best days are in the distant past and he had no trouble hitting Danny the first half of the fight.  I would have no interest in seeing a rematch between Danny and Keith Thurman because their first match was a total bore.  However, I would like to see Danny against any of the other top welters.

  2. Alfonso Bedoya 04:36pm, 02/19/2018

    Garcia not getting enough credit here. He is not physically imposing at 147 but he has that iron chin and he hits harder with either hand than any at welterweight including Crawford and Spence.

  3. Pete The Sneak 01:23pm, 02/19/2018

    Paul, nice write up indeed and right on point about Spence. To have all this shite slinging by Porter, Garcia and Thurman and not one mention of Errol by either one of them or the ‘announcing’ team (where’s Malignaggi’s straightforwardness when you need it) is not a very good sign for Spence’s legacy and wallet. Let’s hope this changes, and changes quickly…As for Rios, have to admit, I was actually watching Rios pretty much walk Garcia down for several rounds and take his shots pretty well (till that last one) I was saying son of a gun, this guy Magno may have actually called this friggin fight…So yeah, have to say you were certainly in the ball park in parting with the ducats…Peace.

  4. Bruce Kielty 01:00pm, 02/19/2018

    Superb article, Paul.  Until the networks realize that by continuing to humor those malignancies known as sanctioning bodies by televising their “title” bouts, things will never change.  Defying these self-appointed clowns would be in the interests of the networks long-term because the boxing fan base would enlarge over time.  It is obvious that Spence and Crawford are in a class by themselves.  All of the others are just contenders.

  5. Paul Magno 12:50pm, 02/19/2018

    Hi Lucas…Thanks…I’m not too upset about the loss…I’m a writer…I can survive on grilled cheese sandwiches and ramen indefinitely…I’m ok with going out on the occasional limb…Of course I knew it was an unlikely pick, but, fuck, where’s the fun in always being safe? But, even with the way the fight ended, I think the way the fight played out kind of supported the central logic to my piece…Garcia is always there to just do enough to win and that kind of mindset is problematic against someone either good enough or hungry enough to push him…anyway, yeah, there is great potential at 147 right now and, as writers/analysts/bomb-throwers, we need to be on their asses to not invest so much into marination that the meat gets ruined…For me, Spence vs. Crawford could be this generation’s Leonard-Hearns…but we’re going to have to keep pushing for it and stop justifying why things DON’T happen in favor of making sure that they DO…

  6. Your Name 09:26am, 02/19/2018

    Boxing is absolutely pathetic these days. Imagine if Hagler, Hearns, Duran, SRL, Benitez, Ali, Frazier, Holmes, Foreman, Sanchez, Chavez, Arguello and the like pulled this sh*t.  Gay.

  7. Lucas McCain 08:26am, 02/19/2018

    Sorry about the dropped $500 on Rios, but this was a strong comeback of a column. Errol is one of a handful of extraordinary boxers, and with the right participants, writerly reminders, and publicity campaigns, we could be heading for a Hearns/Leonard/Duran style Golden Age Restored.

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